• Savannah Georgia - Fishing Report

    Miss Judy Charters
  • Miss Judy Charters provides Inshore fishing, Offshore fishing, and Gulf Stream fishing charters. Whether it's sport fishing for the serious angler or a leisurely day for the family, we have the trip for you. We have been fishing in Savannah, Tybee and adjacent waters for over 50 years. We have the knowledge for your inshore and offshore fishing adventure.

  • Savannah Georgia - Fishing Report

    Captain Matt Williams of Miss Judy Charters, Mary and Bob Abbott La Grange Georgia
    As you can see, especially in this case, a picture can say it all in words, weight, and numbers of fish lying on the fish cleaning table. Mary and Bob Abbott La Grange Georgia has a catching blast. According to fishing tale told, Mary said all she had to do was reel, reel, and reel some more! Why? Captain Matt took care of everything else!

    Captain Matt Williams of Miss Judy Charters holding up some very nice spotted sea trout!

    Captain Matt Williams knows fish up close and personal!

    For those that don’t know this is an unusual spotted sea trout catch especially for this time of the year. Normally, more that 50% of the spotted sea trout caught during this time are too small to keep. Some of the fish caught will be legal right after their fall time growth spurt. However, I will have to say this about Captain Matt and this has been proven many times in the amount of fish brought to the dock. Captain Matt is a great water reader and knows at least most of the time where keeper fish are going to be holding especially at this hot time of the year.
    What is a water-reader? I could say, “Look it up!” However, there is no such word. However, in this case, Captain Matt Williams of Miss Judy Charters is a fisherman that can read water in regards to finding the whereabouts of fish down under! A mouth full of truth!

    Then Some!

    Captain Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters took the Chen family for a fish catching whirl wind! Before departing Captain Garrett asked, “What would you guys like to catch?” James replied, “Trout!” Joanna replied, “Red fish!” Tobin age 8 and Evin age 11 screamed, “We want to catch a shark!” So here’s how it went in the catching field of dreams. They caught exactly what they wanted and THEN SOME!

    Hard Head Cats
    What did their classification mean when they said, “Then Some? Two catfish, which by the way is a rare catch for this area! Why? 40 years ago a virus, not COVID, or at least I don’t think so, killed off all of the catfish in our area. We used to catch over 50 a day while plain old bottom fishing in the sound with small pieces of shrimp. We used to call then “hard head salt water cats!” (This could be a title for a hit country song for sure!) One American eel, whiting of assorted sizes, and man eater sharks! The bottom line all on board fulfilled their fish catching wish! Congratulations to the family and to Captain Garrett for successfully fulfilling their dream!

    Cadet Captain Alli DeYoung holding a nice scamp grouper! While offshore fishing in the fall of 2020 with her father Captain Dan DeYoung they caught this grouper while fishing with live ruby red lips! Beautiful scamp!

    It’s a great time to talk about shallow water grouper fishing

    During the month of November gags of all sizes migrate toward the coast. This means that large populations of gag grouper take west heading toward the coast. When schools of grouper make a move to the west they are forever looking for structure, which in turn will offer them protection and a guaranteed food source. You know the old saying where you got any kind of structure you got some sort of marine life.
    Since, we have two kinds of sands on the baron ocean bottom there are not many natural ledges for grouper to successfully hide. What a sentence! Ok let me explain: Let’s talk about the two different kinds of sand that cover our area. (Savannah, Georgia)
    We have rolling sand which basically moves or rolls as current flows over it. The fact of the matter is where there is lots of loose sand now, tomorrow after a couple of tides pushing a strong current it could be gone. You could refer to the type as light weight sand. These sand particles are smooth meaning no edges.
    Inter-locking sand, which is what I call building block sand that can really cover up some pretty interesting things. The particles in this sand have inter-locking sides, which means when they meet, they latch together temporarily covering things on the ocean floor. I know this sounds crazy, but what is covered before a hurricane or any strong currents can be uncovered. And here’s the thing, while it is covered marine growth still happens. What does all of this boils down too when it comes to catching gag grouper?

    When the grouper population heads this way it is going to have to look for structure. So even if it’s born with second nature sends them on a certain track there is no guarantee that what was there uncovered before will not be covered now. Believe me once a fish leave the real time live bottom area in 90 feet of water the ocean bottom can be certainly barren. This all boils down to lots of small to medium to large gag grouper making way over acres and acres of rolling and interlocking sand. While looking for that one piece of structure, which is most likely going to be no doubt a wreck and not a ledge! When they do finally get to the artificial reefs they basically split up! How do I think I know this? Well, over the many years of me doing this type of fishing I have notice and figure that not a lot of grouper are holding on each wreck. Heck, if you think about it..too many fish makes for crowded conditions and a quick depleting food source.

    This is the head of a large gag grouper! No it is not smiling!

    Write it down!

    For those fishermen that are going to try this type of fishing please know that after catching or getting a hit I suggest moving on to your next structure. Why? You have most likely spooked the fish you didn’t catch, which has in turn passed it on the others by its action! But, please make a note of what happened at each wreck. You think you will remember but you will not.

    Before departing you should decided exactly where you are going to fish!
    In our area we have KC, CAT, CCA, L Buoy, J Buoy, and then there are those wrecks that not everyone knows about. If you happen to be privy to the whereabouts of these structures, first call me, (just kidding) then I suggest making one of them you’re soon to be fishing spot. However, I suggest always have a backup plan, you never know who might be already sitting there or the fish bite just might not be there.
    Without the right bait there will be no grouper bite!

    Now let’s talk about bait, which can be as challenging catching as the grouper itself! Now I am not saying that artificial jigs or dead bait will not work. (Live bait is the ticket to this ride) But since we on the subject lets go over artificial jigs... buck tails with hair or plastic white tentacles have always worked when tipped with stripped bait or dead/live fish. Why? You drop the lure to the bottom and work it meaning don’t reel just work in place! In other words drop lure to depth where the fish should be holding and work it up and down 4 to 6 feet in the water column. The main goal when using this style of bait you need to work it right by the structure that you are fishing.
    The best bait going to be live bait. Any live bait will work such as menhaden, rock bass, sand perch, and pin fish. The absolutely best bait is going to be sand perch and pin fish! Why? The sand perch is great bait because it seeks sand to hide around. Why? It blends in with a sandy bottom. Heck, a predator could swim right over and most of them do! As far as a pinfish...what fish doesn’t like this crazy moving bait? Just about all fish like, but when they are not presented on a hook this is bait that is very hard to catch. So therefore for that one instance a big fish just might make the mistake of thinking that it is going to get one over on the pinfish. But as we all know the hook embedded most likely will even be more of a surprise. The pinfish is very hardy bait and can successfully move up and down in the water column without trimming up its air bladder. However, the sand perch doesn’t not have that luxury it has a much larger active air bladder. When catching the sand perch please make sure the air bladder is deflated before putting them in the live well. Let say for this article’s sake that you have found the bait that you need, which believe me is going to be a feat in itself!
    Captain Judy’s fishing catching “360 Degree Line!”
    Also better known as the grouper rig!

    Egg Sinkers
    Recipe for getting the attention of that one big inshore fish Rig
    10/0 circle hook (or larger or you can use a “J” style hook, 6 feet 20 pound leader (larger can be used with this set up), #7 swivel (80 to 100 pound test swivel) 1-ounce slip sinker (or larger weight) 1-gaff or large dip net

    Here’s how you make this simple big fish catching rig:

    Slide on egg sinker right onto main line. (The size of egg sinker used should be determined by the current delivered. The rule of thumb is the stronger the current the heavier the sinker. I suggest keeping an array of sizes in your tackle box.) After sliding on sinker tie on swivel, then leader, and then circle hook of choice. I prefer using a 10/0 to 12/0 circle hooks. When using a circle hook, please remember “you do not set the hook!” I suggest making sure that it your circle hook is an offset style. Please know when targeting any fish that falls into the snapper grouper complex you have to use circle hooks. (Not J hooks!) Please always check out current fishing regulations before heading out!
    This rig is called my searching for that one big fish rig. When fishing wrecks this rig works best when holding it. If your bait or your hooked fish heads for the safety of the structure you are going to have to make a move so as to try and change the course of this action. Simply raise the rod straight up, which in turn will relocate the sinker and the leader will follow.

    However, if you happen to get hung in the wreck I suggest always assuming that it was a fish that took you there. Why? Because 9 times out of 10 it was a big grouper. What do you do now? I suggest strumming the tight main line like a guitar. The vibration noise delivered will imitate the way a grouper slams it jaws shut especially when it is exiting ledge, ditch or wreck. When the fish hears or feels this vibration they automatically join in meaning they are going to swim out not in deeper.

    Guitar Fishing for Grouper!

    Since I have caught hundreds of grouper using this move I know the feeling delivered up the line. It is almost as you get a jolt and then slack in the line, but this only last less than seconds. This is when you need to tighten your drag and start reeling as hard as you can. Why? The grouper is exactly swimming towards you not away from you. But when the fish knows it has made the wrong move it is going to make a strong move back to the safety of the wreck. If your drag is too tight it will break, if you let the fish back in the wreck you line is going to break. However, if during this move you loosen drag properly while disorienting the fish you just might be a winner! Thinks about it this way, the grouper has the hook embedded in its lip, and it has escaped to the safety of the ledge. I suggest keeping a tight line and of course strumming it. The vibration will move the fish and at the right moment you can exactly pull the fish right out of the ledge. After you perform this, have fisherman move rod side to side while reeling fast and as hard as he can! The side to side movement of the rod quite often disorientates the fish!

    This is the back end of a gag grouper, which has been pulled out of a wreck! It took up about an hour to get this catching job done!

    This is what a sand perch looks like after it has been mauled by a grouper.

    If your fish takes you into the wreck before you can change its mind I suggest this move. Make sure you turn your boat and follow your line back to the wreck and stop when you are exactly over it. Grab the main line, pull up on it, and you should be able to feel whether you are hung on the wreck or if the fish is just hunker down inside the wreck. Pulling on the leader will give you an idea for sure. If you can’t pull the fish out of the wreck I suggest drift with the current until you get about 100 feet from the wreck, then hold your rod down to the water and tighten the drag. If this doesn’t work, I suggest working both sides of the wreck while staying behind it. In other words pulling above the wreck is only going to tangle you up more! Whatever you do if you are not sure don’t give up!

    Anchor or not or motoring in place!

    I don’t like to anchor and I can certainly forget about motoring in place. I don’t have twin engines nor do I have a trolling motor. However, here’s how I place my bait Captain Judy style. I situated my boat over the wreck and wait until I get caught up in the current. As my boat starts to drift away, I drop my bait to the bottom and then as the boat drifts I basically free spool. Now my free spooling in this case is much controlled. I hold my thumb lightly on the spool allowing the weight to dictate when I should let line out. Keeping the weight on the bottom should be your main goal. All that is left to say, “You are hopefully going to need a small gaff or large dip net and most likely your camera!” And this is me thinking very positive!

    While inshore fishing with Captain Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters Brad Rife and Ethan Long (age 11) (all from Savannah) had a pretty darn good fish catching day. As you can see from the picture above Ethan caught a very nice red fish and of course Brad caught one too! As you know a picture can’t talk so I will do the talking for it and ask this question? Taking this photo into account who do you think knew more about catching fish on this particular day?

    Flounder Pounder Report!
    Our inshore captains are still catching quite a few of assorted sizes of the old flat fish better known as the flounder. So if you are just fishing I suggest this would be a good time to throw out that second line. Heck, you don’t have to man it all you have to do is cast it out let it fall to the bottom and then put it down. After all it takes a flounder more than several seconds to get it intended meal ready to go down the old gullet. This is one fish that you have to give them time to eat!

    As far as best rig used especially if you are unmanning the line, I suggest a Carolina style. The leader length used can be your preference. I suggest about 18 inches. Once cast into to place the current will pull the line through the egg sinker making the so called leader even longer!

    The t-shirt says it all “CATCH FISH!”

    While inshore catching with Captain Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters Conner Welty Flora, Illinois caught this beautiful Jack crevalle and Jonathan Bamford Ellabell, Georgia is assisting! It is true sometimes last minutes plan to do turn out! In this case, it certainly did! They called the morning of, we had availability, and were happy to accommodate! It was a WIN WIN WIN situation! The one not winning was the big fish

    Captain Judy Inshore Pecking Order!

    “Low tide stage to incoming tide stage!”

    When the tide is coming in on a big flat or an oyster rake the current pushes in the bait and the fish follows. The first fish to arrive at the base of the oyster rake is the stingray. Whatever you do don’t move, this mean that you have your boat positioned just right. At this point you need to fish your cork on the leading water edge to the oyster reef. Keep your bait on the bottom. In other words, let the bait drag the bottom. The second fish to arrive is going to be the flounder. You still need to fish near or on the bottom using your traditional float rig or drop shot rig. The third fish to arrive is going to be the spot tail bass. This fish’s intentions are made clear by all of the turbulence that this full-bodied fish makes. The fourth fish will be the spotted sea trout, which will be staging on the deep side of the oyster bed. You need to fish toward the middle of the channel bed and keep your bait deep. You can either work with artificial or live bait. Normally trout are most hungry during this stage. The main desires of all fish as the tide rises are to push to get to the “Target Rich Environment,” which is the live oyster bed. It’s your mission, should you decide to use this suggestion is to fish it to your “up most ability!”

    List of arrivals from first to last: Stingray, Flounder, Spot tail bass, and spotted sea trout

    Cadet Captain Alli DeYoung (Currently attending college at Texas A&M) and Captain Kathy Brown of Miss Judy Charters are each holding up a nice white bone porgy! My father, the original Captain Helmey, taught me from the time I can remember that when you catch a white bone that it means that end of the current feeding pattern is over. If you think about this too hard the... what came first the chicken or the egg theory moves in on your thoughts? So I guess the best way to explain this is Captain Judy Style.

    Captain Judy Offshore Pecking Order!

    In a fishing city, which is a live bottom or ledge or ditch that has lots of sand surrounding its outskirts, there is a certain pecking order. The best way to describe those feeding in these areas is to begin somewhere, so I will start with vermilion snapper aka b-liners. In this feeding case, the large vermilions feed above the smaller ones. When a large vermilions feeds the leftovers fall through the water column into the small ones feeding zone. This is why I always suggest when we start catching vermilion to always reel up about 5 to 10 (on my 4/0 Senators one full revolution is approximately one foot) times to see what holding above the school you are catching fish out of. Vermilion love to inhale jelly fish and quite often they spit this up all over us. Yes it does sting, but then I guess we deserve it for sure! Vermilions are known to be jabbers of the anything they eat.

    While all of this is going on the trigger fish clan feeds very close as well up and down on the structure. They are known as pullers. What does this mean? A trigger fish can take a small piece of squid and turn it into a long string of squid just by pulling at it. I think they get this feeding method from trying to bust open the vulnerable spot on a sea urchin. The sea urchin is covered in sharp poisonous to spines. However, they have an uncovered spot (no spines) located on the bottom that a trigger fish will jab at until it busts it open. They perform this even at the cost of having spines stick and break off in their face. Next time you catch a trigger fish check out the scares on their face. After the busting take place, it’s like a piñata; it is full of great things for the trigger fish to eat. Bad for the sea urchin, but good for the fish!
    All sizes of amberjack, also called reef donkeys, which are guarders of the reef control the upper water column. Not a thing passes them unless it is something they are not interested in. Along with the ambers are the almaco jacks and the banded rubber fish.
    These are the larger fish that can move successfully up and down in the water column with absolutely no problem. What do these types of fish prefer to eat? Just about everything and anything that fits into their mouth. They are very jealous and when you are hooked up you can quite often hook up another one of their counterparts very quick. And they will bite at each other from the very bottom to the top.

    The other reef fish such as the tomtates aka ruby red lips, sand perch, rock bass, pinfish, as well as other small feeders are basically at the mercy of the larger fish. This boils down to when the bigger fish eat the leftovers that happen to float down from above are these small fish’s select fresh pieces. No matter what a fresh kill is a fresh kill!

    White grunts better known as hognose snapper (by us) is another fish that feeds together. Now you might catch a few of white grunts while bottom fishing. However, when they are feeding you can catch a dozen during one feeding extravaganza. It has occurred to me that when the white grunts are feeding I think they become real time bullies. Why? They feed fast, furious, and with knocking down conviction. Smaller fish must run and the larger fish are already full of what they have been feeding on so therefore they let them have their own personal feeding court!

    And as if someone turns off a light switch all of the above seems to stop and the white bone starts feeding. Now this feeding pattern doesn’t last long, but you can find yourself catching quite a few of these fish on this scheduled bite. Since we how about 12 hooks total at one time on the bottom we could catch as many as 6 to 8 white bone porgy at a time.

    I can’t finish this unless I say, “It seems the longer I fish the more I learn about how the fish feed! And believe me knowing this information like I do only enable me to get more opportunity to catch exactly what I am targeting!”

    Captain Cuz Mickey, “Miss Judy Charters Freshwater/Saltwater Fishing Dream Team!”
    Freshies Report!
    Meet my Cuz Captain Mickey! Give him a call, but only if you want to do some freshwater fish catching on Lake Lanier! Just do it!

    (Captain Mickey 470 262 6035)
    Freshies Report by Captain Mickey Holbrook Miss Judy Charters’s freshwater connection!

    My Cuz Captain Mickey Holbrook owner and operator of MAD GILLZ Fishing Guide Service! Captain Cuz is a member in very good standing with the gangster side of our family! And that is all I am going to say about that! And the best news is none of us have done any sort of prison time! Captain Mickey is also old time fishing friends with Captain Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters

    So therefore any of you want to do a little fresh water fishing I highly suggest giving Captain Mickey Holbrook owner operator of MAD GILLZ Fishing Guide Service a call. (470 262 6035) There are two things that we know for a fact ...and what is that? Our Lake Lanier fresh water connection is Cuz Captain Mickey Holbrook! And I approved this message times two!

    Little Miss Judy’s Believe It or Not!

    My very first lesson on the importance’s of color!

    This is my father’s boat Miss Jerry, which was painted with no passing yellow highway paint! As you can see my father is trying to untangle fishing line. It doesn’t look to promising at this point! I think he is about to bring out the knife!

    My very first lesson on the importance’s of color!

    When I was very young and just starting out in the charter boat business I had a lots of different things that happened to me. There was fog of which I never thought was a problem until I had to navigate in it without the aid of my father. By the way, back in the good old days we didn’t have any GPS chart plotters or HD radars to aid in our navigation mounted on our dash. Believe me it was surely navigation by the seat to your pants especially in my case. My father just seemed to know exactly where he was at all times when navigating in the fog. Heck, during no visibility my father could hear a ship’s engine in the channel way before it passed in front of us. Since I was with him during these times I just assumed I knew this too! I never saw a ship, but I did hear it pass by. They were always too close for me especially in the fog. It’s funny how experience makes you more aware, because back in the old day’s awareness surely didn’t play a part with me. Why? Little Captain Judy not so seasoned! Why? I just wanted to go fishing and wasn’t so concerned about the weather! All that other stuff like fog and high sea conditions were just plain boring. At least until I was forced to consume some badly needed experience in quick time mode.

    I will never forget this day as long as I live. The fact of the matter is in my mind I am right there now. This happened while our boats were still staying at Captain Walsh’s dock, which was located at Lazaretto Creek. (Tybee Island Georgia) My father had a charter this particular morning and he asked me to take it. I was happy to take it, because I loved to fish. It was a two part plus for me. I would also get to run his boat “Miss Jerry”, which was a big 40-foot yacht. The only thing I didn’t like was the color. He had painted it egg yolk yellow and as if that wasn’t enough loudness he finished the top of the boat off with emergency orange color paint. Unbelievable!

    For many years I wondered how the heck my father came up with the color of egg yolk yellow. Well, as time went on the true story finally came out. You see the highway department gifted my father a 50 gallon drum of no passing yellow paint. And being that my father was the way he was not a thing would go to waste especially when he knew he would be able to use it somewhere. That is exactly when he decided to paint his big boat no passing egg yolk yellow! It didn’t stop there either, as time marched on so did the paint. He painted his rods, wooden boat coolers, and occasionally the dog would come into the house with streaks of yellow hair. I need to get back to the story at hand...

    After loading the passengers, I untied, and off we went to the deep blue sea for a wonderful day of fishing. We arrived at our destination point after about 2 hours, which was the “Old Black Fish Banks” and started our day of bottom fishing with cut squid. As we all fished I noticed that cloudy type conditions were moving in, but I never gave it a second thought. At least not until what looked like clouds had moved right down to water. They weren’t clouds at all! It was what I would long remember as an unbelievably thick hovering “fog bank!” I watched as this dark gray cloud moved towards us. Upon it completely covering the boat we could not see from the bow to the stern and it was dark too! At this time I told everyone that due to the currents the conditions I wanted to head back to the dock.

    I pulled the boat around, took my compass heading of 270 degrees and started making way towards the dock. As I was pulling away I turned my VHF radio on so that it could warm up. During this time all radios still had tubes and it took a few minutes for them to warm into a transmitting mode. And I just thought it was a good idea!

    As I approached what I thought was the coastline of Savannah Beach I started seeing lots of sea birds, and close wave action to my starboard. Unfortunately, when returning home from the “black fish banks” there wasn’t any shallow water while on this 10 mile run. At this moment I knew I was in trouble, because I wasn’t where I thought I was. The thought of running my father’s boat aground was making me a little sick. So I decided to go to the VHF radio and make a call to the Coast Guard. As soon as I made contact, which was only seconds, I felt better. However, all at the same time I had wonder what they possibly could do. Heck, after all the visibility appeared to below 50 feet. They asked the normally questions, which consisted of how many on board, boat size, color, and where I thought that I might be. The latter question was a good one, because I knew for sure that I was seriously off course and was way too far north of where I was supposed to be.

    Upon relaying that transmission my soon to be savior told me exactly what to do, which was to take an immediate heading of oner-sixer-0! This meant I needed to turn to a heading of 160 degrees, which I did straight away! After a few minutes, the welcomed voice came back over the radio and told me to change my course to two seven O. You guessed it my new course was 270 degrees, which was my normal heading home! I was so relieved. Once again the voice inside the radio said, pull back, and holding your heading and slow your speed. Upon the transmission, I pulled the throttle back and started idling in said direction. At this point I had to wonder exactly how they knew where I was. So I asked! According to the coast guard voice over the radio they could see me just fine from a top the lighthouse! Believe me, I never joked again about my father’s yellow boat with the orange top!

    Please remember I started taking customers fishing at the age of 14! I was only 16 year old when this happened! I remember it like it was only happened yesterday!

    Thanks for reading! Captain Judy
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